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Dangerous goods can mean any material that contains hazardous properties which, if not properly controlled, present a potential hazard to human health and safety. The transportation of dangerous goods is controlled and governed by a regulators on both the national and international level.

Categories of dangerous goods

Dangerous goods can be divided into nine categories:

  • Explosives: Fireworks, flares, primers
  • Gases: Compressed air, fire extinguishers, natural gas, petroleum gases
  • Flammable liquids: Liquid bio-fuels, kerosene, organochlorine, pesticides
  • Flammable goods: Sodium batteries, sodium cells, lighters, matches, calcium carbide
  • Oxidizing substances: Nitrates, perchlorates, chlorates, chemical oxygen generators
  • Substances: Clinical waste, dyes, allyls, cresols, chloroform
  • Radioactive material: Medical isotopes, density gauges, mixed fission products
  • Corrosives: Batteries, battery fluids, dyes, fuel cell cartridges
  • Miscellaneous dangerous goods: Ammonium nitrate fertilizers, polystyrene beads, dry ice

Dangerous goods are regularly transported by road, railway, sea and air. If you own a freight business and are considering offering dangerous goods transport services, then you need to make sure that your staff is trained to correctly identify, classify, package, mark, label and document your dangerous goods shipment.

Any paperwork or labelling mistakes with dangerous good shipmentscan put your business at risk. The Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods is an example of documentation that will need to be completed by yourself and your customer. Any corrections made on this document need to done on the document, accompanied by the full signature of the person who signed the original document. 

Different states and provinces may have different regulations for dangerous goods. Common items that may be classified as dangerous in your state could include air conditioning equipment, air bags, auto parts, camping equipment, cigarette lighters, cosmetics, construction equipment, computer equipment, motorized equipment and certain pharmaceuticals, for example. Some good resources for you if you are considering transporting dangerous goods include the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) website, the UPS website’s section on the shipment of dangerous materials as well as FedEx’s information about dangerous goods and hazardous material shipping.

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